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Headlinin’: Bill O’Brien will juggle Penn State with Pats’ playoff run

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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Making the morning rounds.

Well, you always said you could call plays in your sleep... New Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien will remain on as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator through the playoffs, according to Pats beat writer Ian Rapoport, while also attempting to assemble a staff and shore up a tenuous recruiting class by national signing day on Feb. 8. The Nittany Lions have picked up a single verbal commitment in the 2012 class since Joe Paterno was ousted in the wake of the Sandusky child sex scandal in November, and already lost their most touted commit to Urban Meyer at Ohio State. In the meantime, they risk losing more in the transition to an entirely new administration that has no full-time leader and remains a blank slate with a month to go. [Boston Herald]

We hardly knew ye, part one. Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy is taking his game and his anti-Michigan tattoo to the next level, announcing Thursday that he's foregoing his senior season in East Lansing for April's NFL Draft. Worthy is considered a likely first-rounder after picking up first-team All-Big Ten and consensus All-America honors as the anchor of the No. 1 run defense in the conference. [Detroit Free Press]

We hardly knew ye, part two. Also going pro: Six-foot-eight Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler, who will soon inspire a new round of stories concerning his height — did we mention he's 6-foot-8? — as the tallest quarterback in NFL history. (Presumably, he's using the most reliable model of predicting pro scouts' assessment of any given quarterback: Height = $$$.) Osweiler was an obvious bright spot in an otherwise unremarkable year for the Sun Devils, turning in 336 yards per game through the air with a 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and leaves new coach Todd Graham with a depth chart full of green at the most important position. [Arizona Republic]

We hardly knew ye, part three. Rounding out Thursday's early exits, there's Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill, who announced his pending departure for the league after leading the nation in yards per catch as a junior in the Yellow Jackets' triple-option offense. He's the second Jacket receiver in three years to hold that distinction, joining Demariyus Thomas, who ate mismatched defenders alive in man coverage during Tech's run to the ACC title in 2009. But don't expect Hill to follow Thomas in the first round. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

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. Four-star Oklahoma City running back Barry Sanders — spawn of the Barry Sanders, former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall-of-Famer — is expected to announce his plans to attend Stanford this weekend, according to "a source close to Sanders" who spoke to the Tulsa World. The younger Sanders, ranked by Rivals as the No. 1 senior prospect in the state of Oklahoma and the No. 134 prospect nationally, has already narrowed his options to Stanford and his dad's alma mater, Oklahoma State, but has recently achieved test scores that will get him accepted in Palo Alto after months of trying.

"I've been hearing that speculation through this whole process, so that doesn't surprise me," Sanders said. "But I told people I would announce on Saturday and that's what I'm gonna do." [Tulsa World]

Quickly… Dat Nguyen says there's "no chance" he's retained as linebackers coach by the new staff at Texas A&M. … Todd Graham levies his first suspension at Arizona State. … Nu'Keese Richardson hangs up the cleats. … ESPN plans to use 30 cameras to cover the BCS Championship Game. … Kansas State fans pack the house for a Cotton Bowl pep rally. … David Molk doesn't care for Twitter. … Senatorial candidate Craig James takes a hard stance against Google Bombs. … And longer odds: That two teams from the same conference are playing in the championship game, or that both of them feature outgoing Australians?

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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